Warm quivering body of a hairless cat, affectionate embrace is its slender legs, smart look and sparkling eyes – that’s what happiness should look like. Despite its eccentric look Petersburg sphinx conquers the hearts of more and more people. How could it be any other way? It is impossible to remain hard-hearted when such a fabulous and nicely purring creature is sitting next to you.
The absence of hair is a natural mutation, which can happen not only in cats, but also in some other animals. There are breeds of hairless guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, mice and rats. Hairless cat is a gift of nature, and not a victim of insane genetics.
Peterbald Sphynx cats are the result of breeding work performed with several breeds of cats. Among those breeds there were Donskoy cat (or Don Sphynx), Siamese cats and Orientals. Breeders had a difficult task: to combine hairless Sphynx skin with grace and manners of Middle Eastern breeds representatives.
Today Peterbald breed is still developing and striving for perfection. The breed is already recognized by CFF, FIFe and WCI; mating with cats of Middle Eastern breeds is still permissible, while mating with Don Sphynx is already banned.
The breed is named by O. Mironova by association with the monument to Peter I. The sculptor portrayed the great king in a grotesque style being absolutely bald. The name of the breed has a profound meaning: these cats are majestic, but not arrogant, not indifferent to others. Kings should behave exactly like that, shouldn’t they?
Peterbald cats are very nicely and harmoniously composed. All the parts of the body look as if they were “collected” in one mosaic of extraordinary beauty – the creation of skilled breeders.
Some experts say: “True Peterbald cats look just like Siamese; the only difference is that they are hairless.” The breed standard proves this point of view. The descriptions of these two breeds are similar in many respects: the cats look very light, graceful and slender – “stretched”, but not fragile.
The legs are long and muscular; the tail is very long, tapering towards the tip and straight (without creases). In profile Peterbald Sphynx also reminds an Oriental or Siamese: the line from forehead to nose is smooth and slightly convex. The ears are large, but not as broad based as in Canadian Sphynx cats. The eyes should be almond-shaped and slightly slanted.
All Peterbalds are divided into three types according to the amount of coat covering and its quality: brush coat cats, flock cats and bald cats. You can choose any while looking for a pet. All of them participate in breeding equally, but at exhibitions, many experts prefer completely hairless animals.
- Brush coat cats have short crimped hair that may be present on the back, muzzle, forehead, legs and tail. Whiskers can be almost normal or a bit “wavy.”
- Flock cats – the skin is covered with short velvety, almost invisible fluff. Whiskers are thin and look a bit “broken off.” Some people don’t like completely hairless cats, but may adore flock ones.
- Bald cats – completely hairless Peterbald Sphynx. They have no coat, and the skin feels like warm plastic. These cats don’t have whiskers at all.
The skin of a Peterbald Sphynx is slightly thinner than of a Canadian Sphynx. Head and legs should be a bit “wrinkled.” Skin color as well as eye color can be any.
It is interesting that Peterbald kittens can be born with a kind of coat, but they may lose it with age. In rare cases it may happen vice versa: short hairs suddenly start growing in hairless cats. You should consult a competent breeder to find out what metamorphosis (if any) may happen in this particular kitten.
From their ancestors from the Middle East Peterbald cats inherited curiosity, mobility and playfulness. These cat are active participants in everything that is going on, it’s not enough for them to watch what is happening, but they want interaction and participation. They get along well with children, interested in communicating with animals and they don’t mind contacts with family friends.
Peterbalds haven’t inherited the character of Siamese cats, their manners differ a bit. In general hairless animals need warmth much more than cats with fluffy coats. Initially kitten is constantly looking for a contact with a human to keep warm: snuggles down on the owner’s knees, hugs and moves its little body as close as possible. Such contacts bring spiritual closeness – the kitten grows sociable and trusting, it doesn’t enjoy loneliness and neglect from its owner.
Housing and care
In order to keep a Peterbald active and healthy, it should be provided with enough space for games and activities. The space should be organized so that the pet can run, jump and climb vertical surfaces without risk of getting injured.
In general taking care of these cats isn’t complicated. They are smart, quickly learn the rules of etiquette and aren’t likely to be naughty in the owner’s absence.
Delicate skin of Peterbalds requires regular but simple care: bathing once in a fortnight or once in three weeks and using light moisturizing creams when it is necessary. It is important to keep the temperature regime: overheating and overcooling is equally dangerous for these cats, they are sensitive to drafts and sudden changes in temperature.
Peterbald cats are long-living and get sick rarely. Representatives of this breed have a good health and strong immunity. However, from Siamese and Orientals they inherited predisposition to some genetic disorder, so it is advisable to choose a Peterbald kitten only at a professional nursery.